CATHEDRAL CITY — Sunshine Cafe serves one of the biggest, coldest, thirst-quenching Diet Cokes in the Coachella Valley.
Yet, on Tuesday, that go-to beverage at the popular cafe seemed to be missing something. Then it struck like a lightning bolt.
It was missing a plastic straw.
Sunshine Cafe, located at 36815 Cathedral Canyon Drive, is the first eatery in Cathedral City to eliminate plastic straws from its establishment. It started easing them out about a month ago, owner Jay Sherman told Uken Report. The move comes in preparation for a local ordinance that takes effect Feb. 28, 2019. The ordinance will prohibit single-use plastic straws in the city.
“We wanted to (give) our customers and our staff the time to adjust to the new rules and regulations,” Sherman said. “Our customers showed an understanding to the new way of drinking their beverages.”
Some café patrons, noticing the absence of the straw, asked for one, Sherman said. Staff explained the law and obliged the request if they still wanted one.
Sherman said he supports the city ordinance, adding, “I’m all for the environment.”
It has yet to be determined how much his café might save on buying plastic straws, Sherman said.
The City Council voted 3-2 in November to ban single-use plastic straws. Mayor Stan Henry and Councilmember Mark Carnevale opposed the ordinance.
There is an exception in the law for disabled persons who may receive a straw upon request at a cafe or eatery.
Cathedral City’s plastic straw law will go into effect on Feb. 28, 2019. It is the first community in the Coachella Valley to impose a ban on single-use plastic straws.
Some California cities that have already banned plastic straws and other items include San Luis Obispo, Malibu, Santa Cruz, and Ojai. Los Angeles is now considering a ban as well that would be stricter than state law.
The city of Seattle banned not only the plastic straw but also plastic utensils. Starbucks will stop offering plastic straws by 2020. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have eliminated them from its flights. SeaWorld will remove straws and bags from its parks, and Marriott Hotels and Royal Caribbean will eliminate them from hotels and cruise ships.
Cathedral City’s ordinance is stricter than state regulations, which take effect Jan. 1. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that prohibits full-service restaurants, even a Mom and Pop cafe, from giving plastic straws to customers unless requested.
The ordinance defines a “beverage provider” as a business or organization — including all types of restaurants, a cafe, bars and fast food chains, as well as event vendors and religious groups — that offers “liquid, slurry, frozen, semi-frozen, or other forms of beverages available to the public for consumption.” Violators could be fined $1,000.
Compostable and biodegradable plastic straws also will be banned under the ordinance, but alternatives made of paper, metal, bamboo or other materials would be acceptable in a cafe or restaurant. Beverage providers could also choose not to distribute any type of straw. Retailers that sell plastic straws can continue to do so, as long as the straws are sold in packs of 12 or more.